AXSChat Podcast

AXSChat Podcast with Matt May - Adobe’s head of inclusive design

November 16, 2020 Antonio Santos, Debra Ruh, Neil Milliken
AXSChat Podcast
AXSChat Podcast with Matt May - Adobe’s head of inclusive design
Show Notes Transcript

Matt May is Adobe’s head of inclusive design. His work includes integrating more equitable design practices across every aspect of the Adobe user experience, training and mentoring the Adobe Design team, and advocating principles of accessibility and inclusive design to the public at large. He lives in Seattle.

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Matt May: Radio

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Neil Milliken: Hello and welcome to access chat. It's taken us a long time to get here, but we finally got Matt may, who is the

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Neil Milliken: Head of inclusive design or is it inclusive design lead for

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Neil Milliken: For Adobe so delighted delighted to have you here. It's been too long to get you on. Can you tell us a little bit about what you're doing and where you sit in this Adobe ecosystem.

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Matt May: Yeah, so I i had i started in Adobe accessibility. So I spent

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Debra Ruh: The first 10 years

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Matt May: Over there. And, and now I live in Adobe design, which is

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Matt May: A part of the Creative Cloud organization and oversees the art design system spectrum.

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Matt May: Basically assigns our designers two different product teams to to build out our product so completely different perspective on all of what I've done so far this career.

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Neil Milliken: Excellent. And I know you've been putting out some some really nice materials on Tintin it recently some to Nice to the tutorials and also sort of

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Neil Milliken: Some webinars on on inclusive design some really

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Neil Milliken: Good quality stuff so

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Neil Milliken: How do you, how does that come about. And you know what goes into it because, well, I know a lot goes into it but but what are the sort of things that you're doing and how you

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Neil Milliken: Sort of building up that sort of capability within Adobe and for your customers, obviously, because it's you know it's enabling customers to create accessible content.

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Matt May: Yeah, so for for what we've been doing so far it's been

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Matt May: We've been

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Matt May: Working from from more or less the beginning. How can we make sure that designers are are capable understand what needs to go into a product for it to be inclusive. And so when I moved over at the end of 2017 and probably the first the first year or second was mostly

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Matt May: Managing the basics. How do we add all texts or labels or separating order, things like that.

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Matt May: But understanding kind of where our designers are and where their teams are just how that and how that transaction works.

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Matt May: So from, from there we identified some of the things that our designers needed to to learn to pick up to make a part of their practice. And so we worked with you to turn around and said okay University and and have a host of other

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Matt May: Experts and in in different aspects of inclusive design.

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Matt May: And built a day long training for all of our designers and from last April to this January just perfect timing I was traveling the world.

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Matt May: I'm glad I'm not doing this anymore, but we we literally went to nine different sites Adobe and gave this workshop to every designer that works in the organization which has over 300

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Matt May: And as we were developing this we just we kind of realized that this is something that

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Matt May: Belongs out in the world. And so we built the the Adobe inclusive design workshop, you know, workbooks basically three modules that cover.

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Matt May: Some of the theory behind it, because the design aspects of it that are not related to disability because I think

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Matt May: A lot of people think because of design is just accessibility from the design perspective, it's much more light encompassing than than that. And so we we break down.

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Matt May: Other kinds of of exclusive practices and how we got there and try to make it an entire you know just an entire unlearning for for for all of our people.

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Matt May: And as part of our new hire curriculum. So did a lot of training over the, you know, over a year or two. And as those teams start to start to percolate through these

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Matt May: Through our teams of designers

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Matt May: They start to think of what they're doing, that is, you know, that is fostering that exclusivity or things that they could do that. That will make things more inclusive.

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Matt May: And then we can start to have a conversation as peers. Here's, here's what we what we want to do, what are the things we need to think about and then it becomes more of a consultative process and people are starting to to

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Matt May: You know, become experts have their own just by by doing this work by working with our inclusive researcher Molly bloom. You know that that we're learning so much about this, this process by sort of

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Matt May: Being explicit that this is him being intentional about the work that we're doing. So it's, it's been an interesting ride.

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Matt May: We're only really just what you're seeing out in the world of our of our products is is just the beginning of the kinds of work that we're doing over the, you know, over the next several years.

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Debra Ruh: Hey Matt, can we can we go back a little bit, because you are I consider you a staple in our industry. You've been a leader for many years and

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Debra Ruh: And so, do you mind telling the audience a little bit about your personal journey of how you got here. But also, do you mind also talking a little bit about the history of how Adobe got here because I know that

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Debra Ruh: I early on when I I moved into the field around 2000 and when I came in the field in 2000 2001 and I remember

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Debra Ruh: Hearing things like, oh, it's too hard to make a table accessible. Don't use tables and don't use PDFs, because we can't make PDFs accessible and don't you and there was so much that we were just supposed to stop using. And I remember at the time I was talking to

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Debra Ruh: Somebody that used to work at Adobe Greg and he told me he was telling me, just the sheer numbers of PDFs that were just in the United States government and so

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Debra Ruh: There was some in the beginning there was some hysteria from the community and it was very interesting to watch how

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Debra Ruh: Adobe navigated that and then of course she came together you you merged with some others that were doing stuff. But I just think you'll have a very interesting history personally in in the company. So I was wondering if you could just talk about that for a moment.

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Matt May: Yeah so specific to whatever the Adobe thing first.

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Matt May: You know, the, the first release of you have tagged PDF because i think i think Acrobat

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Matt May: Five and 99 2000, something like that. So, you know, the Acrobat team has been working on this for a really, really, really, really long time, more than more than by far the majority of software companies that are out there.

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Matt May: And, you know, part of the story is the is about the evolution, but I want to, I want to say one thing about about PDF, which is the the brief for the portable document format. Right. You give if you get the elevator pitch for for this in the, you know, basically early 1990s.

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Matt May: It's a picture of a piece of paper.

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Matt May: That's that's it mean we could talk about like PostScript, because it was PostScript printer codes that that turned into something that you could view on a screen.

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Matt May: And then it was if you couldn't do that you need to post a picture that's basically a TIFF file that's that's that's in a common format and it's evolved since then, but it was basically five years in before there was a way to make that text readable by at

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Matt May: And the, you know, and you know we've been chasing it ever since that and so that that's probably the biggest lesson that we can get from PDF is

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Matt May: If you have an idea that's going to be that central to communication, you need to get you need to have the answer for how am I going to make this broadly accessible because

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Matt May: You know, take it from us trying to to claw that back you know get trying to get the genie back into the bottle is, you know, that's an immense amount of work and

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Matt May: You know, I think that that's also kind of, I think, the frustration with a lot of people as far as PDF goes because yes we've created

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Matt May: You know the tagging support and we've we've gradually made it easier and easier to do and Microsoft for their part in not just our plugin for office, but their, their plugin is getting better at doing the doing that tagging and

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Matt May: But the, the core problem is that we have

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Matt May: Is that it, by default, there won't be that accessibility information and then the. So you have all of these all of these broken PDFs.

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Matt May: And it is kind of like navigating you know like a walk away with a bunch of broken glass on it like you just don't want to walk that walk away anymore. If you've been if you've been cut

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Matt May: Its it and and so it's it's understandable to be to be frustrated that if you're used to, to PDF documents being accessible that you just don't want to trust the format and

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Matt May: What that kind of requires is it is work for us to essentially boil the ocean. Right. And the, you know, and so if you look at some of the things that we're doing right now that are that they're focused on the PDF ecosystem, like we just released the liquid mode in Acrobat

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Matt May: So, and that's basically taking any PDF in the wild and running it through sensei our machine learning system and determining all the things that we have been trying to get people to, you know, the people to add

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Matt May: In intake PDF like reading order, you know, so ordering columns marking headings marking tables, all of those, those kinds of features.

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Matt May: But the, you know, but the benefit of that is that you know you don't

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Matt May: You, you can be less afraid of that PDF being an absolute barrier, because it's going to now start to adapt. It's going to start to be to be readable, even if it wasn't originally OCR

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Matt May: That it will be in the right order that you'll be able to fill in forums and and all that. So I think that's that I guess is the allegory for why we are like, like how we've evolved in in Adobe because

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Matt May: If we had a design quarter 20 years ago and like let's remember where accessibility was 20 years ago that we just, we just don't have the tooling that we, that we have today.

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Matt May: But if we had thought about this and somebody had been in the room and said, if you're blind or you have you have low vision or, you know, you need to have this content read out to you do to dyslexia.

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Matt May: How are you going to do that.

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Matt May: We would have had a fundamentally different approach to doing that. That would have leaned a lot heavier on the structure of that of that document than, than the presentation. And you know, I think we're

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Matt May: We're still we're still cleaning up for for that. But I think we would, you know, that's that I think to me as the story of why because design support.

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Antonio Santos: So much. You were telling us before about the workshop that you would want before and the way are you train people and bring equals Adobe

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Antonio Santos: But I'm particularly interesting, then our, you know, when having so many people interested out you unfold innovation. I'll do find a space for Evan idea here. We can do this. How can you

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Antonio Santos: Structure that within within Adobe to make sure that

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Antonio Santos: Good ideas come into the table.

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Matt May: Yeah, I think that's a good question. And, you know, we

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Matt May: We still have this kind of

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Matt May: Feeling that we're all a bunch of little startups.

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Matt May: Just because we're, we're now kind of more and more conglomerate of other of other companies and but we also have a you know processes that we share in common. And so we have the ability to kind of look in at what other products are doing so we have

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Matt May: The number of things that I can't quite talk about yet. But when you you know when they, when they see the light of day, as we are in Seattle. Right now it's just it's just turning light now.

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Matt May: This is it 730 in the morning. So if I'm incoherent, this is, this is why

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Matt May: We are working on it. Like, we will see somebody that's working on a like on a product and then we can start peppering them with with questions about, have you thought about this. What are you going to do with that.

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Matt May: And, you know, and rather than, say, like, kind of go away, we're, you know, we're working on this, and we get to that later. We know that doesn't work, you know that that we we are you know the processes are basically

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Matt May: You know encapsulating that kind of how are you going to do this in an inclusive way and not just kind of the in terms of the like the functional accessibility of it, but

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Matt May: How are you going to, you know, how are you going to make this you know how, how is it going to reach the users that we want it to reach and not just the ones that that can afford it or are the nearest to us in proximity

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Matt May: Or economic status or like if we if we treated the universe of our users like the like it was everybody that lived within a couple of kilometers of

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Matt May: Our main offices that would be a lot richer a lot lighter of, you know, and then then though the world's population. And that's another aspect of and of inclusion that we need to think about how, how do we solicit the feedback of people

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Matt May: So that so that our user base. It looks like the way that we want it to look and not just the people that are going to be the ones knocking at the door with a fistful of cash in hand.

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Yeah.

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Neil Milliken: I think that's a great point. I'm doing some work both inside my organization and outside and and

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Neil Milliken: People were trying to serve well how do we define what what we want from diversity and a simple boiled down level you want that to reflect the

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Neil Milliken: population of the world at large. So it's got to include and reflect the population of the world at large and within tech companies within our, our bubble of

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Neil Milliken: Whiteness and privilege and all of that kind of stuff. We're not very reflective. So I think that we do need to have some kind of conscious process to be able to bring that in.

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Neil Milliken: And and i think that

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Neil Milliken: One of the reasons why we all ended up here and landed up on Twitter was partly as a result of wanting to sort of suck in that knowledge and join that community together.

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Neil Milliken: We're, we're as a community, you know, usually, we've got some kind of reason for investing in it, other than being rich and white and privileged and all the rest of it. So, you know,

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Neil Milliken: I i I've got ADHD Deborah has ADHD and dyslexia from, from my point of view, I believe. Yeah. So there's three at three out of four in bad. Yeah.

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Neil Milliken: So, um, you know, did the fact that you you have ADHD play a role in you coming into the community or was that just incidental

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Matt May: Yeah, by the way. Thanks, Antonio for playing along. I mean, I know what it's like just being in a room with us.

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Matt May: So the yeah it's, it's interesting. It's, it's kind of funny because I I really just had to like almost read on my own history.

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Matt May: Because I had to reconstitute how I got here because actually the first inclusion story that I remember was that I was I was taught how to I was taught braille in second grade.

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Matt May: And the mean. The funny thing is like you go like, Oh, that must have been a really progressive school. And the reality is that it was a school that kicked me out because I was disruptive.

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Matt May: So like, basically, you know, like, for being punished for the fact that I was not fitting into the to the classroom environment, they would send me into the special education room.

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Matt May: And we had one blind student in in school who I actually ended up meeting like out on the, you know, like in out in the world, an accessibility conference of, you know, some some years later and

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Matt May: So yeah, my, my punishment for my disability was to basically be support for somebody else's disability. So, you know,

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Matt May: Fast forward a little bit in that story. It was just, you know, now that I'm know that I'm kind of realizing that the there are that they're just basically I've, I've really grew to my career to the things that I'm strongest at right

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Matt May: The idea of being in front of people giving talks.

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Matt May: Formulating thoughts and and organizing them and then basically being under enough pressure that you can't just kind of like, you can just space out in the middle of our presentation. If it doesn't work that way.

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Matt May: They don't invite you back on. If you can't give a talks of the strengths that I have in Hyper focusing on that specific thing or what gets me through doing these kinds of workshops, because

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Matt May: Things are really good. The way that you want. You need to have kind of some some Neuro plasticity some flexibility in in changing things around on the fly.

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Matt May: And that really caters to all of our strengths. What I hadn't really piece together. Was that a lot of the things that

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Matt May: That I do like stacks of posted notes if we could turn the camera around, they just be like, like a beautiful mind, you know, it's just that. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia like conspiracy like seen

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Matt May: Those like that's part of my at you, creating like the creating the structure that my brain tends to lack and remembering what my assignments are and what the things are that are that are most important to me. I've got my my books and

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Matt May: But also, like there are things now that I that I need in our applications to keep me on on task. Right. And so now I'm thinking about these these things in terms of design for me.

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Matt May: I think a lot of advocates are actually you actually come at this from the, from the other side right there thinking about

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Matt May: Inclusion is the status quo plus me right that I that I need to that these are the things that I needed in order to participate.

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Matt May: And then from there, there's this you know it's it's anchoring to yourself in that in that process. And that's, that's what a stakeholder is right. People that are that they're able to advocate for their themselves or their specific you know group or identity and

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Matt May: I like my background, I mean, I started because I was working at a, at an online grocery store and a blind user explained that, you know, by making that directly accessible to them that

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Matt May: I could turn there, you know, for our it you know or deal having to like call the store. Wait for the access shuttle go pick things up and take them and put them home into a 15 minute thing, right, that was

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Matt May: That was an opportunity. It was a technical opportunity to to to change somebody's life for the better.

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Matt May: All of those roles are valid, I mean I'm not saying like, Don't be an advocate for yourself but understand that.

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Matt May: Inclusion is about is about everybody is everybody's needs being together. I just think about this is, like, it's

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Matt May: It's liberal, you know, progressive politics versus conservative politics that when conservatives are in place. It's just kind of like, let's just stick to the way things are.

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Matt May: And when progressives are are in. It's like, let's change everything. But my thing. First, we can't, we can't make progress, unless we are

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Matt May: Not just self advocates advocates for one another. And that's kind of the, you know, my impetus for for for aligning under the IDEA AT LEAST of inclusive design.

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Neil Milliken: No, I think that's a great answer. I think what's also really interesting is quite how many

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Neil Milliken: Neuro divergent people have a very similar view and and have spent a lot of time actually advocating for lots of

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Neil Milliken: disability groups other than themselves because actually an area that's quite underserved is the whole sort of area of cognitive accessibility and design for attention and all of this stuff.

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Neil Milliken: Or design for inattention and designed to divert your attention away, you know, all of these sort of dark patterns that are really quite problematic have been done for the wrong reasons. Yeah, I'd like

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Matt May: Every, every website that has like a TV news site.

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Matt May: That has a pre roll video screen that that's like sitting there in the corner like want to shoot those designers into the sun is those the words might as well just disappear like I recognize that those are characters and that characters with spaces between them forum words.

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Neil Milliken: Good thought

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Matt May: But when this thing is going here. There's, there's no way that I'm actually going to consume that that information and it just, it's, it's just extremely frustrating to, you know,

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Matt May: And from that perspective, like we have a pretty well off. Right. Like, if you think about the like some of the experiences that the users have like if you're deaf or hard of hearing, and there's no captions on that.

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Neil Milliken: Yeah, on any column know

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Matt May: If you're blind in this account encoded in an image like that that's that's another thing. But I think that one of the reasons that you know

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Matt May: A lot of neuro diverse people earn a lot of people color. You know a lot of you know a lot of women and gender non conforming people, a lot of

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Matt May: LGBT Q. People are advocates in this space is that they don't need to be explained to what exclusion is

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Matt May: That that when you like when this happens to you, you understand what it's like and what they've done what you feel like and you know in in our sense it's you know that the concept of neuro diversity is it like as a

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Matt May: An umbrella term for an a whole number of things that in the medical model or disorders.

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Matt May: Yes, we're talking like 10 years really that it's that that's been a term that's that's been used and still not really widely understood what it needs. I think the the the autism community has has has latched on to it.

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Matt May: Otherwise, it's, it's, kind of, you know,

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Neil Milliken: Yeah, it's not super well understood. We were really lucky to interview the lady that invented the term.

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Neil Milliken: For

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Matt May: Oh really, yeah.

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Neil Milliken: Yeah.

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Neil Milliken: So do you think so. So the first

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Neil Milliken: Like reference herbal

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Neil Milliken: Mentioned of neuro diversity as a concept was in her academic degree.

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Neil Milliken: Piece quite some time ago so and so she's out in Australia. And yes, I mean, it grew out of this it. It was first adopted within the autism community.

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Neil Milliken: Largely in the US and then dyslexia community in the UK and the wider umbrella and there's still a lot of debate around that. But you're right about the to the empathy for exclusion, because you know what it's like when it you know it feels like to be excluded, but not all of the time.

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Antonio Santos: Neil that actually is part of Julie's argument.

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Neil Milliken: Yeah.

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Neil Milliken: Yeah. So yeah, I mean that's, I mean the

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Neil Milliken: The idea of being being sort of partially excluded, you know, because these things, these things impact us, but not in the same way.

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Neil Milliken: You know that pre roll video is just like someone having the TV on in the bar my conversation with the person I'm sorry opposite with is just I'm drawn to this blinking light in the corner, the fools landed.

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Neil Milliken: But

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Neil Milliken: But yeah but but at the same time, it's, it's kind of like

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Neil Milliken: I most of the time I don't consider yeah I'm part of the disability community. I don't necessarily feel disabled. A lot of the time I have

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Neil Milliken: Some difficulties and then there are occasions where something is constructed in such in such a way, or a piece of software is developed in such in such a way where suddenly it just slams back at you, and suddenly yeah I'm disabled by that circumstance.

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Matt May: Yeah and you know like the other piece of this is, is that, and this kind of connects to aging. The. Another thing that I'm rapidly getting familiar with that.

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Matt May: So I think of the, you know, have a lot of the like the experience of, like, especially like I think about basically 50 plus people and mobile devices.

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Matt May: Is I think that if you if you look into the hands of a lot of people

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Matt May: With iPhones. If they're you know 50 and basically we get presbyopia, I start to change their and lose their spirituality and so we ended up being farsighted.

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Matt May: And we. And so you see the phones and like the fonts are blown up so that you can see them from space. Right, and that's

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Matt May: A. You're welcome. Right. Like, that was an accessibility feature that has gradually been poured into it easier and easier places to find in in in the mobile operating systems.

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Matt May: But what but your mental process basically if you have this able list right right that I'm not really disabled. I'm just getting older, right, that

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Matt May: It's like it's that's that's that right like that in and you see the the evolution and operating systems from

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Matt May: You know, from an accessibility panel to a universal access panel to now it's kind of promoted in iOS to the first row in the in the settings so

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Matt May: When you start to see these things as when you start to see yourself in these things. That's when it starts to click that.

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Matt May: This isn't one thing that everybody gets two years and then like we hack in a bunch of other stuff. And in the end, that

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Matt May: This is a smorgasbord. You get to pick and choose the things that you like and that you want. If you want, you know, prefers reduce motion. You can do you can do that.

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Matt May: If you want to change the colors of the fonts, you can do that. And the end the way that we got there was by listening to people when they have problems.

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Matt May: And the like and you know and predicting how things were going to go. So the like these are, these are all arguments that take us back to

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Matt May: Like, how do we think about this from the start, because the amount of cleanup work that everybody has had to do in this industry just to get to this place.

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Matt May: Is immense compared to like, what if we had just sort of thought about this stuff from the beginning. How much further, would we be along in it in, you know, like in the things that that we're using. And you know the other example of of this is video games.

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Matt May: And I think it's kind of in like a a metaphor for what we could be learning what we could be doing that would actually move things along.

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Matt May: We have the 21st century communications and video accessibility at CDA that required things like

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Matt May: If you, if there's chat in in room than it needs to be accessible that dialogue needs to be captioned.

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Matt May: And so all of the major gaming houses have built that so support in all of the modules that are built, you know, all of the the the

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Matt May: The code like shareable code that that this built in that industry supports that because they know that they need it.

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Matt May: But the result of that, as opposed to like I guess how things are with Section five a week here that it's just kind of clear this bar which hasn't which didn't really change until the final we refresh.

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Matt May: That the video game companies are like transcending this whole thing, adding filters for for low vision, changing the you know the mappings for keyboards and, you know, my friend price from Microsoft.

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Matt May: You know, let the project that built the Xbox adaptive controller. And so now you can remap everything. And so that's

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Matt May: Basically to single switch devices that are that are right in front of you and you can play a number of games. The Last of Us, to which I played recently has all of these different modes for like finding targets and you know and collectibles. And, you know, 3D sound so the

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Matt May: Scene sightless combat the blind gamer, you know, beat this game like faster than I did, which I'm honestly like

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Matt May: I'm lucky if I can make it through the game in, you know, a 10 hour game and 30 hours because I'm like going through every niche in in there and he blazes through it in like six and I

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Matt May: But

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Matt May: But that that idea of like how can we do this like instead of like, Let's just, let's just cross this bar and then we can just move on to something else fundamentally different way of thinking about this. And I think that's, you know, that is the way that we should be thinking about all

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Neil Milliken: Our products and decide and fundamentally agree. I think that the the whole gaming industry has been one of the most

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Neil Milliken: Great stories around accessibility of the last few years, we've had in Hamilton and we've had Bryce on as well. So we and

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Neil Milliken: Really the way to progress within accessibility in gaming has been exponential

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Neil Milliken: And and yeah I guess like you. I'm looking at it with a with a smidge of jealousy

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Neil Milliken: So quickly, you know, in the traditional, it will be rolling the same roll out the same Hill for for a long time because we've got that much legacy code.

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Neil Milliken: Yeah.

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Neil Milliken: So, yeah.

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Matt May: No, I think that is the nice thing about like about that that world, I think, is that you

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Matt May: You have, I mean, you start with essentially nothing like you have a bunch of API's. But you're not you're not building, you have a

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Matt May: Like an open world, but you can kind of swap it out. It's almost like having an operating system on top of the operating system. Everything you start, you do is is starting from scratch and so

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Matt May: You really have to think about how you, how you do this in a way that sort of taking taking things off the shelf doesn't doesn't really afford you.

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Debra Ruh: Know I I never really got into the games playing the games, my, my kids did and so many my friends did and I it's funny, what you were saying, Neal, I'm

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Debra Ruh: I'm a little bit jealous that I didn't do that. I was too busy, you know, taking care of my family and running a business and doing these other things but

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Debra Ruh: Seems that, you know, I agree. We've seen so much progress with the gaming industry over the last few years and

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Debra Ruh: And what they're doing. As we walk as a world to this AI and this really figuring out what are we going to do with this new technology and how do we make sure technology, you know, works for humans and

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Debra Ruh: It just seems like all of these things are converging and and i and i wish now that I, you know, not done the dishes and one gone and played it more with my son on his games.

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Neil Milliken: Time Deborah.

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Neil Milliken: Still, fine.

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Debra Ruh: I don't think

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Matt May: System. So just came out, you get two of them. I'm just getting my hands.

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Debra Ruh: It's fast is it you know it first. I thought, you know, they were just playing remember moulder and everybody but I remember

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Debra Ruh: The these young these young people at the time, hoping that maybe someday. If we used to make fun of them, you know, the kids saying, what do you think you can do grow up and play games. It's not a real career.

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Debra Ruh: Oh, that is a real group. So it was like, I remember you know because I've been alive long enough, but I'm just fascinated. Because now we're tying it into these

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Debra Ruh: wherever we're going with artificial intelligence, the VR and AR and the mixed reality and I'm just the pace is so intense and amazing and

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Debra Ruh: It's, it's just the world's changing so fast. And sometimes, as we all know, it's extremely stressful, especially those of us with ADHD. I remember I also, I was fascinated with your story.

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Debra Ruh: Of you when you were a kid and I hear that so often that people they don't know what to do with you. So they put you in special ed and when I was I was put

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Debra Ruh: I'm not embarrassed by this. Well, when I was put in school in first grade. I didn't go to kindergarten. But I went to first grade, but I was only five

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Debra Ruh: Which in the States. You know, I think it's six but my parents were going through a very violent divorce and

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Debra Ruh: I look at my report card and I failed the first grade, and my report card said that I just cried in the back of the room because I was being traumatized as a kid. My parents were

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Debra Ruh: going at it, they weren't going at it. So they, what they did was they just put me in the back of the room and gave up on me.

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Debra Ruh: And I remember I'm sure this never happened to you or Neil. I remember being in elementary school. And the teacher saying one more person one more person says anything or laughs and I was a good laugh every time.

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Matt May: I will always be like

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Matt May: And actually, yeah. So I, you know, this is. Oh, sorry. Good.

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Debra Ruh: No, it's like, yeah, I know the chocolate all identify with that.

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Matt May: Go ahead, ya know, it was the, you know, this is one of the things like the I read this book.

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Matt May: Called the power of neuro diversity which

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Matt May: I, I only really want to cite for one thing which which is that whether you were considered gifted or disabled depends largely on when and where you were born.

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Matt May: That you know and and thinking about the

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Matt May: The circumstances of my entry into education.

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Matt May: You know, when I was three, four years old. I was precocious right so

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Matt May: The. It was me because I was I was young, I was curious. I was getting into a ton of trouble. And they were like, let's see if we can put this

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Matt May: Put this kid into some place where they're probably you know isn't flammable material within reach.

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Matt May: And schools are great for that. So I because I entered, you know, like an angel kindergarten in another town because I was like over the cusp of when I was allowed to come in.

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Matt May: So I graduated on the on the early side, it's usually the youngest person in my class or or nearly and I dealt with a lot of that problem, like just that I was

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Matt May: I was mentally there like a, you know, cognitively at the at the level of doing this work but socially not and

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Matt May: And it's it's it's it's really frustrating that you you know that you have to kind of fit in with the like with a cohort and that you have to be aligned in so many different ways for them to say, like, okay, now we're going to be able to teach you

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Neil Milliken: Yeah well said. I think

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Neil Milliken: That that sense of otherness, especially I mean I'm I was late diagnosis, Deborah, or seven late diagnose so

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Neil Milliken: Well to select it runs in the family. It wasn't something that I thought applied to me. I just thought I was somehow failing certain things or, you know, got called a dealer 10 K and in a daydreamer and yes did all of those things like getting into scrapes, etc.

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Neil Milliken: But yeah channel, you know,

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Neil Milliken: I spent 10 years working for a company that specializes in providing solutions to dyslexia and and yeah, whether people will consider gifted or disabled. Yeah, it really does depend on

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Neil Milliken: The socio economic background. So we would see very different cohorts and people coming through our doors depending whether they've been the state school or private school which we strangely in UK called public school

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Matt May: For us is

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Matt May: Like looking private sector, and that's the same. And I'm like,

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Matt May: Working in the private sector likely

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Matt May: Is that the same or different

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Neil Milliken: Ways. Yeah, you people would be given the tools and the support they needed to flourish and and and then on the other side we see people with the same kind of levels of intelligence, same kind of levels of inquisitiveness ending up in the criminal justice system.

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Neil Milliken: Yeah, I think it's, it's, it's still an issue, but I think that there's a greater recognition now. And I think that there's a better understanding of the potential reality of people just are not neurotypical and

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Neil Milliken: Like this.

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Matt May: Really quickly on that.

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Matt May: I think that it's worth people thinking about, like, if there were 100 of me and how, like, how many of you would be in jail really have a substance abuse problem like that like

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Matt May: That we know

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Matt May: Our you know causes and conditions like the things that that the cultivate one thing over another matter. And if we if we all think, like, I mean,

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Matt May: There aren't 110 inclusive design positions. So like, I'm not like oh if I if if 100 of you guys spread out, be like, we wouldn't all end up in the in the same destination. So

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Matt May: It's a way to also recognize that you know how fortunate you are to be in the situation that you're in, because none of it is, it is actually guaranteed. But, you know, there's some other lessons that are that are in there as well as just worth. It's worth thinking about it from that perspective.

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Neil Milliken: Yeah, absolutely. I think that's actually a great point for us to end our conversation we've run out of time.

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Neil Milliken: Need to thank our privilege to be supported by Barclays access my clear text and and micro link to help us maintain our website. Keep us house captioned and keep going. This is pretty much our sixth year now doing this stuff so

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Neil Milliken: I believe Antonia just wanted to say something before we close, I'll shut up and over.

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Antonio Santos: No, I was just, there's cut know people that are listening to us and my because now you're talking. We're talking about this topic, but what is how can I can I manage my people in my organization to take advantage of all this talent and and and not to make sure that they're able to

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Antonio Santos: Not drive and bring their, their ideas, but at the same time that the others are the employees are still not able understanding what they bring it to march out. Can you do that that's

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Matt May: That's a great question. And the short answer for that is so the workshop has three modules.

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Matt May: Module four is going to be content strategy that's coming up module five is going to be inclusive research.

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Matt May: And module six which were just in the beginning of is that like organizational inclusion and equity like that. How can we a recognize and

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Matt May: You know, and give away to the diversity of that's already in the room so that people are actually able to bring the, you know, their whole selves to work as our as our HR department, the calls it

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Matt May: And and then from there, how do we understand who's not in the room, and that, and how can be like, and how can we be more inclusive in

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Matt May: The research that we're doing in the hiring that we're doing so that we so that everybody is not just brought in, like, just having statistics is not

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Matt May: The same what what Adobe's working on is something called opportunity parody that you know across genders.

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Matt May: That you know it's one thing if we if okay let's say we have 5050 employment in this and 5050 pay like are equal pay from from everybody.

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Matt May: But if all the men are in senior vice president positions and all the women are upset you know simple directors or

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Matt May: Or lower right, you still have a, you still have a power imbalance and this power and balances manifest themselves in different ways and different organizations but

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Matt May: To me inclusion as a stepping stone to equity that we should be appreciating people's like people's progress, including their lived experiences.

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Matt May: In their progression through there through their careers and that just getting people into the door is only the first step of that.

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Matt May: So in the, you know, in the meantime, understanding how diversity, you are and thinking about the barriers that that have been established and

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Matt May: The modes that you may have fallen into that can cause people to feel marginalized when they're expressing their opinions, you know, the

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Matt May: The example of basically a woman saying something in a meeting being ignored and then a man saying exactly the same thing. And, oh, that's a great idea.

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Matt May: It happens. It happens all the time. And these are these are smaller things that you can do that don't require like hiring a new CEO or a new head of HR and

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Matt May: It, but that that are equally important. That's just, it's just a part of a broader practice of, you know, recognizing that this isn't just about like how we can all get along at work, which means kind of

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Matt May: satisfying the the loudest person in the room that we have to recognize that that everybody bring something to the table. If you're actually willing to listen to it.

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Neil Milliken: And testing. Thank you. And I'm really looking forward to the conversation on Twitter.

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Matt May: Me too, we'll see how that goes.

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Neil Milliken: It will be fine. What could possibly go wrong. It's

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Matt May: I love all of you just

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Matt May: Said, anything you don't like I'm probably not sorry but I feel for you.

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Matt May: I loved your comments. You did a great job. Thank you so much.

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Matt May: Thank you.